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Music City Centers reaffirms commitment to city financial obligations despite $20 million

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Music City Center says it will still be able to pay its annual $12.6 million to the city, plus $40 million it promised to help Nashville’s budget.

The center is also hoping that conventions and events planned for the fall will still happen despite COVID-19.

The center is part of phase 4 in the reopening plan. However, if the COVID-19 pandemic takes a turn for the worse, that could mean millions of dollars lost.

So far, Music City Center has had 68 groups cancel between March and the end of June.

“Any group we lose is a financial hit for us,” Music City Center President and CEO Charles Starks said.

He says MCC has lost $20 million since the pandemic started.

The Nashville Convention and Visitor Corporation says there’s been 970 meeting and convention cancellations. That’s almost a half million people not coming to Nashville.

That would’ve added almost $29 million to the state in taxes, and almost $31 million to the city in local taxes.

“It’s certainly a loss for us, but the greater loss is for the city and the state,” Starks said.

FOX 17 News' Rachel Tiede reached out to several members of city council to find out how the lack of taxes could impact the city budget if autumn events are cancelled, and if that makes MCC unable to pay their financial obligations.

Budget and Finance Committee Chair Bob Mendes sent the following statement:

“I plan to have the budget ordinance we pass later this month require an update from Finance at the end of the summer about expected revenue. Hopefully that would be an early warning sign of possible trouble in the fall, and give Metro time to react if necessary.”

Nashville Finance Director Kevin Crumbo sent the following statement:

“I am hopeful the MCC will recover from the pandemic crisis as each phase of Mayor’s plan is executed, and MCC will meet all of its financial obligations. A prolonged recovery period, of course, will raise concerns about meeting those obligations. It is simply too early to know if those concerns will materialize.”

Chris Song, the press secretary for the mayor’s office sent the following statement:

“The funds pledged to the Metro General Fund by the Convention Center Authority are still anticipated even after the obvious effect of COVID-19 on convention activity and downtown spending. As we have pointed out before, a second wave of COVID cases and the accompanying sustained decline in tourism activity would put a substantial strain on our revenue collections. Mayor Cooper’s budget proposal includes $100 million for restoring fund balances, both because it is required by law and because we need that fund balance to prepare for the possibility of another wave of COVID cases.”

The first group back to MCC is a basketball tournament that’s supposed to happen July 21-25. Starks added the other good news is that everyone that’s cancelled, wants to come back.

“Hopefully that fills a whole lot of hotel rooms, and more importantly gets a whole lot of staff back to work,” Starks said.

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Starks said they haven’t had to furlough anyone during the pandemic, although almost all the employees are working remotely right now.

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